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As Arms Trade Treaty Goes Half-Secret, Syria on Non-State Actors

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 9 -- Amid doubts if the Arms Trade Treaty talks could arrive at meaningful regulation, now procedure and transparency are in question too.

  Monday even proponents of the ATT, among them Norway, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and others, agreed to make half of the meetings for the next two weeks "closed."

  Mexico, for example, has civil society inside its delegation, it says, so things will not be so bad. They also article that the "half secret" deal is "adopted without prejudice to the status and ongoing application of the Rules of Procedure for this Conference" to the final week. We'll see.

  Among those seeking secrecy was Syria, which notably took a "pro-ATT" position in opposing proliferation of weapons to non-state actors like the Free Syrian Army and so-called Third Force.

  "This may all end up anyway in the First Committee," a stated opponent of secrecy told Inner City Press, asking in the wake of the Press' exclusive story of Sri Lanka and Palitha Kohona being in line to take over the Fifth (Budget) Committee who will get the First.

  There are also rumblings of problems with the ECOSOC Ministerial Declaration, long labored over by an energetic Venezuelan diplomat. After the "fracaso" of Rio+20, there is backsliding. Where is Jan Eliasson now?

  As Inner City Press noted, Eliasson was "presente" at Venezuela's event on Friday night. There, another ATT secrecy opponent predicted to Inner City Press that no meaningful treaty will be reached.

  "A weak treaty would be worse than none at all," he said, because by only condemning the absolute worst of arms sales it would legitimize the rest. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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